Making a Magazine Recipe Binder

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If you are a food enthusiast, this is probably a familiar sight to you. I have stacks and stacks of food magazines, and this is just since January (and I think there are a few in the car and other places I haven’t discovered yet). I did a major purge last winter, recycling or donating anything that was more than a year old that I was no longer interested in. Pawning them off on friends, the library, and the recycle bin. But, the stack is starting to build up again so I decided I’d finally tackle a project that has been on my to-d0 for years. A recipe binder. And by that, really, I mean that I saw the cutest binder at Target and decided I might as well get started. Sometimes cute supplies help the motivation.


There are so many recipes to make and I’ll never get around to all of them, but I wanted to have a place to put recipes I’d like to make (but haven’t made yet) or that inspire me. This isn’t a recipe book in the sense that I’m putting my recipes or recipes I’ve made in it. That’s what the blog is for. It’s just to help cut down on the amount of space that magazines take up and make it easy to look through the recipes I’ve marked.


It’s really pretty simple, just tedious and time consuming. I figured that I can easily do a couple a day, especially since I dog ear the pages of interest when I read them. I just have to go back through and cut out the pages I marked.



  • large binder
  • magazines (duh)
  • page protectors that fit in the binder
  • scissors or an razorblade (i.e. X-Acto knife)
  • dividers if you want to organize into sections (i.e. by magazine, course, type of food, etc.)


  1. Fill the binder with page protectors.
  2. Cut out the magazine pages you want to keep. I ended up using one blade from the scissors to slice down the page near the binding. I thought that was easier and cleaner than cutting.
  3. Fill the page protectors with the pages you’ve cut out. If you don’t need both sides of the page you’ve cut out (i.e. recipe is one-sided or has an ad on the back), insert another page on the other side of the first page so you have a front and a back to the page protector sheet.
  4. Once you’re caught up with the backlog of magazines you probably have, just keep up the maintenance by working as you get new magazines. Then, you can easily maintain this system for very little time each month.
  5. Optional - you can organize the recipes by category by adding dividers and labeling the4 sections. I am going to organize mine by magazine since often there are a main dish and dessert recipe on the same page. Also,right now any recipe that has to do with Feta or salads that would be good with feta on them will be in the same divider section. This way it will be easier to find recipes for my Athenos Feta project this month.


If you make a recipe and don’t like it, just take that page out of the protector and toss it (preferably in the recycle bin). If you have a blog, like me, make a recipe and love it – put it up on the blog. I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to toss the pages with recipes I’ve made and liked or keep them in the binder. I guess it depends on how big the collection becomes and if I need to make space. What would you do? I don’t want to have too many binders because then that just becomes overwhelming. I’d like to keep it to 3 or fewer of the large binders like the one pictured here.

Bonus: Now that I’ve taken everything I care about out of the magazines, my kids have had fun cutting the magazines up for art projects or games. Free entertainment!

Katie Goodman

About the Author:

Katie’s lifelong interest in cooking good food has shown her that part of the goodness in life is enjoying delicious food with friends and family. She is: Mom. Writer. Photographer. Recipe Developer. Website Founder. Lover of all things good in life. A mix of great recipes, family memories, and yummy photography is what Katie serves up each week at GoodLife Eats™. Katie and her family reside in Colorado.

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  • 1
    Kristen - Dine & Dish - July 20, 2010 @ 1:17 pm

    That is exactly what I do with my magazines! Then as I actually make things and blog about it, I remove it from the binder to make room for other recipes (since it is then stored on my blog)


  • 2
    Nina T. - July 20, 2010 @ 1:20 pm

    I have mine in two separate binders…..one for meals and the other for desserts/baked goods. When I start having too many recipes I go thru it and look at what I haven't made in a long time and don't intend to make and recycle them! Plus, the page protectors wipe clean if they get any splatter on them :)


  • 3
    Michelle @ Brown Eyed Baker - July 20, 2010 @ 1:31 pm

    I love this post. I am an organizing junkie but am definitely guilty of hoarding food magazines! Off to Target to get a super cute binder and start organizing :)


  • 4
    Project Shannon - July 20, 2010 @ 1:52 pm

    I do this as well! Recipes that I want to try go in the front pocket, and once I've tried them and they are deemed "keepers" – then they get a page in the binder. It's made such a difference in how I cook and prepare meals for the week!


  • 5
    Katie @ goodLife {eats} - July 20, 2010 @ 2:00 pm

    Shannon, that was also part of my thinking. It is so much easier to make the meal plan for the week when I can flip through one book, not 50 magazines for ideas. It's definitely as much for that purpose as for de-cluttering and being organized.


  • 6
    Ping - July 20, 2010 @ 2:08 pm

    This is what I was thinking about!! Oh, I love that cute binder. I think I would keep it to three. I was thinking the same thing with Shannon. Also, I'm making mine for a friend who's in a remote area, likes food but lack of ideas. So getting rid of something but hoping the pages get to good use. Love your blog,oh, if don't mind I already added you on my list;)


  • 7
    Amanda - July 20, 2010 @ 2:31 pm

    Great timing Katie! I just wanted to stop by and let you know that I linked to this post today from the new Home & Garden channel at Craft Gossip. :) My hope is to share many of the fabulous projects I see everyday with the vast CG audience. I hope you will not only stop by and subscribe to CG, but will tell your friends about the new category!Your feature will appear in the main Craft Gossip RSS feed, on the main home page and can be found directly here http://homeandgarden.craftgossip.com/2-great-ideas-for-organizing-your-recipes-2/


  • 8
    Amy from She Wears Many Hats - July 20, 2010 @ 2:47 pm

    I just sifted through a kazillion magazines last week pulling out the recipes I'd marked. It's crazy how quickly they accumulate. I do the same thing, not only with recipes, but with home decor and gardening ideas.


  • 9
    Amanda - July 20, 2010 @ 3:19 pm

    GREAT idea!!! I so need to do this!!!Be blessed-Amanda


  • 10
    Charlene - July 20, 2010 @ 3:34 pm

    Katie, I love this idea! I receive a few regular subscriptions to cooking magazines and my stack was getting high! Now I can pull my favorites and recycle the rest. Yay!


  • 11
    Amanda - July 20, 2010 @ 3:47 pm

    Awesome idea! I usually would just tear out the pages and shove them in other cookbooks. I'm definitely stealing this idea, thanks for sharing it!


  • 12
    Duchess of Fork - July 20, 2010 @ 6:37 pm

    I've been doing this ever since college! It's a fun way to keep up with recipes.


  • 13
    Jen@Balancing Beautyand Bedlam - July 20, 2010 @ 6:43 pm

    I've been wanting to do that. :) I tear them out and they have haphazardly gotten tossed in separate folders, but that doesn't work. Now, I need to take the next step. :)


  • 14
    Lynn - July 20, 2010 @ 7:27 pm

    I have been doing this for a long time too. I actually label binders for magazines that I have subscribed too for a long time. All my Martha Stewart recipes are in one binder, Southern Living in another, ect.


  • 15
    Liz - July 20, 2010 @ 7:42 pm

    I have a recipe binder. The first section is "Things I Haven't Made Yet, But Want To Try" This is where all of my magazines wind up. The sleeves are key–I love them!


  • 16
    Tasty Eats At Home - July 20, 2010 @ 10:59 pm

    This is what I WANT to do with my magazines…so far, all I have are torn-out pages from my magazines. Enough to fill 2-3 binders. I need to go back through them!


  • 17
    Amy {Adventures of a Messy Chef} - July 20, 2010 @ 11:50 pm

    This is how I sort mine – http://1messychef.com/2010/01/03/the-method-to-my-madness/I tear them from the mags, file them in a folder by course/meat type and then when I need a side, I go to the "Sides" folder or if chicken is on sale, I hit "Chicken".


  • 18
    Sara - July 21, 2010 @ 2:24 pm

    I was also inspired by the same line of Target binders to consolidate my magazine tear sheets. I bought 2 binders, knowing that I would be OCD later on about all of it matching, when I needed to overflow.For me, when I prepare a food and like it, I write it out on a recipe card (a plain 4×6 notecard). I figure that if it is good enough to cook again it is good enough to spend the time to make it archival. Plus, I inherited my grandmother's recipe collection and she also put hers on plain 4×6 cards. Matching her aging cards also appeals to the OCD in me.


  • 19
    Michelle - July 21, 2010 @ 5:07 pm

    I did the same thing a few years back but made three binders. The first one is the idea book – recipes I would like to try. If the recipe turns out well then it graduates to my Main Course binder (divided by protein type) or Baking binder (divided by breakfast or dessert).


  • 20
    Margie McKinney - July 21, 2010 @ 8:24 pm

    I have a similar system…and also love the binders from Target (Wal-Mart has some great ones, too!) I use one binder to hold recipes I'd like to try, and then have four other binders divided into categories that store my permanent tried-and-true collection. I just put the system together about 5 months ago and so far it's working out great!Cheers!


  • 21
    Shaina - July 21, 2010 @ 11:29 pm

    I do the same thing (after my sister got fed up with me and bought me the ring binder; decided I could take the hint). Love the red and blue binder!


  • 22
    Maris (In Good Taste) - July 21, 2010 @ 11:30 pm

    I made one of these years ago and my brother mocked me endlessly! I'm glad to think someone else thinks it's a good idea! Of course, I have magazines piled up anyway, but that is besides the point :)


  • 23
    angela@spinachtiger - July 22, 2010 @ 6:03 pm

    I should do this, but I fear I'll never get to it. Maybe if I find a handsome enough binder I'll get inspired. But, then I have to cut up my magazines, and do I really want to do that. Maybe, but not with Gourmet. I think I'll save as collector's item.


  • 24
    Sarah @ The Pajama Chef - July 23, 2010 @ 3:31 pm

    i do this too, but not just with magazine recipes but also with print outs from the internet. it's a lifesaver! good luck :)


  • 25
    Brittany @ The MamaZine - July 23, 2010 @ 5:26 pm

    I used to do this but I've gotten away from it. I am looking across my dining room now at a stack of magazines and I just went downstairs and found the old binder. I'm about to get started (well as long as nap time lasts a little longer!) Thanks for the reminder. I can always use ways to be more efficient in the kitchen!


  • 26
    Merry - July 26, 2010 @ 6:59 pm

    I was wondering what I would do the next couple of nights while my husband is on a business trip!


  • 27
    Jamie - July 27, 2010 @ 2:31 am

    My sister-in-law, Aggie from Aggie's Kitchen has been talking about this on facebook and linked to your idea. I had to laugh at your stack of magazines because it looks exactly like mine. I started a binder but didn't follow through. I need to do this or my house will be over taken by food magazines. Thanks for the post.


  • 28
    Cathy D - September 17, 2010 @ 8:02 pm

    Omgosh! This is one of those “why didn’t I think of that” ideas! I have oodles and oodles of recipes stored on my computer that I want to try but for some reason, always flip through a magazine or look online when I’m looking for ideas! Thank you for this idea! :)


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — September 17th, 2010 @ 8:14 PM

      I am the same way, Cathy. For me it is because magazines and food blogs have all the pretty pictures. It’s nice to “flip” through something and find what sounds good in the moment. Thanks for stopping by!

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